After three days of intensely fought cricket neither side has managed to secure a definite advantage in the second Test here and the outcome will depend on which bowls better in the second innings on a pitch just beginning to show signs of wear.
Saurav Ganguly, India's elegant left-hander, and Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka's wily little off-spinner, were at the heart of the day's struggle for first-innings advantage.
Ganguly compiled a chanceless 147, his third Test hundred, but India seemed to heading for a more meaningful lead than their eventual 43 when Muralitharan instigated a late-order collapse by snaring three of the last five wickets to finish with 4 for 99.
Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar carried their partnership to 150 before, out of the blue, Tendulkar drove a catch to short extra cover off Ravindra Pushpakumara. His dismissal for 139, three quarters of an hour before lunch, placed additional responsibility on Ganguly, who responded by dominating the rest of the innings to such an extent that he scored 76 of the further 99 added before he was last out, hoisting a catch to long- on after seven hours' occupation.
Ganguly has had difficulty claiming a settled place in the team even after his dramatic entry into Test cricket in England last year when he scored hundreds at Lord's and Trent Bridge in his first two matches. When he entered with India stumbling at 126 for 4, the trauma of his past experiences added to the duck he endured in the run-glut first Test would have been etched in the back of his mind. It was a severe examination of his temperament and he passed it with flying colours.
Third day; India won toss
SRI LANKA - First innings 332 (P A de Silva 146; D Mohanty 4-78).
INDIA - First innings
(Overnight 226 for 4)
*S R Tendulkar c Muralitharan
b Pushpakumara 139
S C Ganguly c Vaas b K S C de Silva 147
N Mongia b Muralitharan 15
A R Kumble c Jayawardena
b Muralitharan 0
A Kuruvilla c Jayawardena b Muralitharan 0
B K V Prasad c Kaluwitharana
b K S C de Silva 2
D Mohanty not out 0
Extras (b2 lb3 nb13) 18
Fall (cont): 5-276, 6-328, 7-334, 8-342, 9-359.
Bowling: Vaas 27-5-69-2 (nb3); Pushpakumara 19-3-79-1 (nb2); K S C de Silva 31.1-6-101-3; Muralitharan 48-17-99-4 (nb8); Jayasuriya 10-6-15- 0; Jayawardena 1-1-0-0; P A de Silva 5-2-7-0.
SRI LANKA - Second innings
S T Jayasuriya not out 34
M S Atapattu c Azharuddin b Kumble 29
R S Mahanama not out 9
Extras (lb1, w1, nb3) 5
Total (for 1) 77
To bat: P A de Silva, *A Ranatunga, M Jayawardena, R S Kaluwitharana, W P U J Vaas, M Muralitharan, K R Pushpakumara, K S C de Silva.
Bowling: Mohanty 3.2-0-15-0 (w1); Prasad 4-0-18-0; Kuruvilla 8-3-23-0 (nb3); Kumble 7-0-20-1.
Umpires: R Koertzen (SA) and B C Cooray (Sri Lanka).Reuse content